Essentially a list of recommendations to the government from the Sacha Lord to the government in an attempt to get the industry back on its feet while supporting its workers and businesses amidst the ongoing effects of COVID-19.
The recovery plan is as follows:
– Continuing to lobby for fairer financial support for those in the sector who have been hit hardest by the Covid-19 pandemic, including the estimated three million freelancers and self- employed workers who have been excluded from any economic support.
– Maintaining dialogue with Government and industry bodies to ensure that the needs and voices of the sector are represented at every opportunity.
– Greater mental health and wellbeing support for night time businesses and their employees.
– Development of local schemes to encourage the public to shop local.
– Providing easy to access and inclusive business support and advice during the Covid-19 pandemic via a Night Time Economy Office service and ongoing ‘surgery days’.
– Greater support for businesses seeking to diversify offerings or retrain as a direct result of the economic hit to the sector or ongoing lockdown/tier restrictions.
– Ongoing regeneration and recovery programmes to make Greater Manchester’s culture accessible to all, including through the Creative Improvement Districts (CIDs) project to drive visitor numbers to local town centres.
The plan is being released at a depressing time for the sector as nearly one in ten businesses have warned they’ll be expecting permanent closure and issuing further redundancies in the coming 12 months.
The Night Time Economy Advisor for Greater Manchester stated “There is no hiding that this has been a terrible year, not just for Greater Manchester or the UK, but for the global night time economy.”
“When we released the last blueprint in August 2019, no one could have predicted the sheer destruction we were about to witness. We entered 2020 with a sense of excitement and ever-growing pride for Greater Manchester’s cultural and expanding hospitality scene.”
“However, in the past eight months, I have watched in horror as the sector has been thrown to the wolves, and in awe at how those employed within it have maintained a sense of strength, courage and dignity in the face of mass redundancy and business closures.”
“We now have the added apprehension of Brexit and the ongoing and unresolved negotiations with regards to product imports, exports and visa requirements. Greater Manchester’s hotel and restaurant sector alone employs over 26,000 EU workers and it’s vital we continue to support our communities when they need it most.”
“Among the many priorities we have listed in this year’s blueprint, perhaps most important to me is an ongoing focus on mental health. This year has had a terrible impact on many within our industry and as a sector which is typically disproportionately affected by mental health diagnoses, this is an area I will continue to focus on going forward so that no one feels alone, scared or hopeless about their future.”
“To say 2020 has been the hardest year I have personally experienced is an understatement, yet despite the difficulties ahead, I remain confident in the resilience of Greater Manchester’s nightlife scene and its ability to return bigger and brighter, albeit looking significantly different.”
“I wholeheartedly believe that the sector plays a critical part of the growth and leading status of our city-region however its with a heavy heart that I estimate it will take at least five years to recover to pre-pandemic levels.”
“I am therefore under no illusion of the hard work ahead, but I have always maintained that together we are stronger. It’s time to look forward to rebuilding on our previous strengths, build on what we’ve already achieved and learn from previous mistakes.”
“Alongside our Mayor and the ongoing work of the GMCA, I am committed to ensuring our sector not only survives but thrives.”